Santa Clara lawmakers voted Tuesday to sue the former Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce, following a recent audit that claimed the chamber over-billed the city for nearly $580,000 while managing the city’s convention center.
The decision comes after city-hired consultant TAP International unveiled an audit in November that alleged the chamber had over-billed the city while running the Santa Clara Convention Center and the Convention-Visitors Bureau, or CVB.
The report details about five years of questionable expenses paid by the city as part of the chamber’s contract to manage the facility, an agreement that had been in place since 1975. That contract to manage the convention center and the CVB ended this year after TAP International found in a separate audit that the publicly-owned convention center was not being managed “with appropriate stewardship, accountability and transparency,” according to city documents.
Nick Kaspar, president and CEO for the chamber, told council members last month he could provide additional documents to the city to address some of the over-billing allegations in the audit.
He said, “We do have some questions and things that can be cleared up. Our goal is to work with the city to resolve this quickly so we can continue the work we are doing with the city and move forward.”
“I find it extremely disturbing that this has happened,” Mayor Lisa Gillmor said following the audit presentation last month. “To think that there were 30 years that this possibly was going on and I think of the potential millions of dollars of public funds that were spent incorrectly. This is over half a million (dollars) of which I want to make sure that we’ll be in closed session and we’ll discuss this and that the public is fully reimbursed for all of this.”
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